Friday, November 25, 2011

A Night At The Mission

taking the ferry across the harbor in Hong Kong

George Carlin:

'I know, some people don't like you to mention certain things. Some people don't want you to say this. Some people don't want you to say that. Some people think if you mention some things they might happen.....some people are really fucking stupid!

Did you ever notice that? How many really stupid people you run into during the day? Carry a little pad and pencil with you. You'll wind up with thirty or forty names by the end of the day. Look at it this way: Think of how stupid the average person is and then realize that half of them are stupider than that. And it doesn't take you very long to spot one of them does it? Takes you about eight seconds. You'll be listening to some guy......and you'll think.......'this guy is fucking stupid!' Then there are some people, they're not stupid......their full of shit. That doesn't take very long to spot either, does it? Takes you about the same amount of time. You'll be listening to some guy..and thinking, 'well, he's fairly intelligent, ......ahh, he's full of shit!' Then there are some people, they're not stupid, they're not full of shit...they're fucking nuts!'

Juanita, a co-worker of mine at a high school in Taiwan, had to leave the country in order to renew her visa, so she asked me if I wanted to go along with her for a few days to Hong Kong. As she was a missionary, she said that we could stay at the Mission House in the heart of the city. It's not free, she said, but it won't cost much.

We arrived in Hong Kong very late that night and took a taxi into the city, and after traipsing up and down the same block for what seemed like hours looking for the place, I finally looked up and saw a banner stretched across a building that read 'JESUS IS LOVE AND JESUS IS THE LIGHT.' That’s gotta be the place, I said, pointing it out.

While Juanita watched our bags on the sidewalk outside, I climbed up to the fourth floor and knocked on the only door I saw. An Asian fellow with about as much warmth as a urine-soaked blanket answered and, while I was explaining to him why we were there and did he know Juanita was coming by the way, he shut the door in my face. I almost kicked the door: Born-again missionary my ass. I went back downstairs to Juanita and told her what had happened, so she went upstairs and knocked again. From downstairs I could hear her explain to him who we were, and that we had been given permission to stay at the Mission. After sorting it all out, she called down to me and I dragged our stuff up the stairs.

The welcoming committee turned out to be a missionary from America who had been staying there with his Taiwanese wife for a number of months, and when we walked in with our bags I was still choked that he'd shut the door in my face.  He chirped away pleasantly to Juanita and he certainly had no problem with his frigging English. Oh get over it! I said to myself. As we unloaded our bags in our bedroom, I asked Juanita what he would have done if I'd been a person who was seriously in need of help. What about God's helping hand? 

I wouldn't let the wanker get me down, relishing the thought of a good night's sleep. However, a good night's sleep seemed rather optimistic after I lay down - the bed was a foot too short, the mattress was thin, lumpy and covered in suspicious stains and the pillow might have been a sack dragged out of a rock quarry. I sat up and opened the window but the metallic smell from the garbage that had been dumped on a rooftop next door made me dry-heave, so I closed it again. What fresh hell is this? But after curling up like a foetus and using some of my clothes for a pillow and closing my eyes for a long sleepy night, what finally drove me over the edge to near insanity was listening to Juanita snore and fart and grunt her way through the night, all of which happened to be louder than a freight train blasting its way through an underground tunnel. I sat up and put my head in my hands, then barked over at her a few times to turn over, but the quiet only lasted a few minutes before she was back at it.

The next morning I woke up all groggy, but happy to be in Hong Kong, and went to take a shower while Juanita remained wrapped up in her sleeping bag. The deadbeat Christian who greeted us the night before had told us to turn the heat switch on half an hour before showering, so I did that and went back and lay down, but when I stepped into the shower and turned the cold water tap on, the water that came barreling out of the spout was so scalding hot I burned my frigging arm almost right down to the bone. I screamed and shouted and jumped back from the shower and grabbed a towel and ran to Juanita.

'Juanita! Juanita! I've burned myself in the shower! I need a doctor! Jesus Christ, I'm fucking scarred for life here!'

New Year's in Hong Kong

We went to a pharmacy down the street and bought some zinc and bandages and as we were putting salve over my burn and wrapping my arm, the deadbeat Christian blowjob, who I now wanted to kill, came out of his room, where he had been packing up his stuff for his trip back to America with his Taiwanese wife.

'Oh, I should have told you to watch out for the shower because it's dangerous,' he said, before walking away. Seeing as he had been there for over two months and he hadn't thought to warn us, I thought it was just pure malice that he hadn’t. The shower was a lethal weapon for God’s sake!

After a long day sightseeing, we arrived back at the Mission, and the second night trying to sleep wasn't much better than the first. However, at 6:00 the next morning I heard a dreadful pounding on a piano with what seemed to be some sort of gospel music being sung. I got up and shut the door to our room and tried to go back to sleep, but the noise brought an older woman down the hall to our room. She opened the door, snapped on the light and looked us over with contempt, as if we'd been caught stuffing Bibles into our knapsacks.

'Who are you and who let you in?'
How many people do have to dislike in a weekend, I thought, as I turned over. Juanita got up and went out to talk with her and explain our situation.

The missionary was gone; he and his Taiwanese wife had left, so Juanita took their room the next night, but not two hours after crawling into bed there was a truckload of hammering and banging upstairs, just over her head. She finally got up and came into my room and told me that she was going to pray and consult her Bible about the noise.

I guess Jesus was busy because after an hour of prayer she went upstairs and knocked on the door of the apartment. There was no answer, so she knocked at a door across the hall. The man who answered told her that nobody lived in the suite, it had been vacant for years and that he hadn't heard any noise. We both thought it was strange, but when I heard Juanita discussing it with the old woman we'd met the previous morning, she also told Juanita that nobody lived above the Mission. They finally reasoned that the noise must have been demons.

'Did you call out the demons in Jesus’ name?' asked the old woman.
'Yes, I did,' Juanita replied. 'I prayed for an hour, and then I prayed some more in the chapel.'
'There are many evil spirits who would seek to destroy us,' said the old woman, 'so I think we should pray and ask God to bless this mission.' With that, they both went to the chapel to pray.

Later on, Juanita and I were in Starbucks having a coffee where she started to proselytize once more, trying to get me to 'come to Jesus.' How did she know I hadn't already come and gone?  Then she rattled on about Israel and how they deserved to have their own country and have the right to protect it because, for one thing, that's where Jesus was supposedly going to touch down when he made his reappearance.

'How is Jesus planning to get back to Israel?' I asked.
'From the clouds he will appear. It's written in the Bible. And that time is soon. Everyone will see his coming.'
'How would we see him coming?'
'I used to ponder that one.' she said. 'It really bothered me. But now there are satellite dishes, so the world can tune in to any station at any time, the whole world could watch and rejoice. Everybody will have the opportunity to see his coming.'
'Okay, but what if I'm at the bank cashing a check? I'll miss it. How will I know he's here? And what if I don’t have a television? A lot of people don't watch television.' Juanita shook her head and smiled.
'Besides,' I said, 'he'll probably be shot down by an American bomb before he even gets within 200 miles of the Israeli coastline.'

My doubt ended the conversation and once more Juanita looked at me with pity. I decided I wanted to fly back to Taiwan because I'd not only had it with her, but with the Mission, so we changed our tickets. I was missing my own bed, too. When we returned to the Mission, we packed up, swept our room and cleaned the bathroom and gave the old woman missionary $40 for our three nights. I was choked because I felt they owed me money for putting up with their corny asses and suffering a burnt arm almost down to the bone. I kissed Juanita good-bye at the airport and watched her get into a taxi. I shook my head. She was crazy. She was a Christian.


In spite of our accommodations, we did manage to do quite a bit in the three days we were there.

Ferry across the water to the Ngong Ping cable car


Ngong Ping Cable Car


Llama Island - Picnic Bay